Get ready for some fireworks at the 2021 Grammys — and we’re not talking about the stacked lineup or pyrotechnics.
It’s been controversy after controversy this year ahead of music’s big night, from The Weeknd and Zayn Malik bashing the show to the scandalous person lurking under a pseudonym who is nominated this year.
The rumpus began as the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused chaos in the usual awards show calendar. The Grammy Awards were set to be held on Jan. 31, but — like all shows this season — was pushed back due to the coronavirus. However, the ceremony’s move to March 14 caused a conflict with the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which were set to air the same night but have since moved to April 4.
Now that the chaos in the wake of the date switch has dissipated, how about the rest of the details for music’s big night? Here’s where you can watch and stream the show, who is set to perform, the scandals brewing this year and everything else you need to know.
What time does the show begin?
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The Grammys telecast officially begins Sunday, March 14 at 8 p.m. EST, but there’s a whole lot of pre-show content to get you amped for the awards ceremony.
Starting at 3 p.m. EST, Grammy.com and the official Grammy YouTube page will kick the night off with the Premiere Ceremony, which includes eight special performances and more than 70 Grammys awarded across genres ranging from classical and jazz to R&B, Global music and more.
The Grammys is also hosting its own live pre-show and red carpet, sponsored by IBM and Facebook. That behind-the-scenes look backstage — including pre-show interviews and stars’ arrivals — begins at 6:30 p.m. EST and airs on Grammy.com
Who is nominated?
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Beyoncé leads the pack of nominees with nine nods, trailed by Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch and Taylor Swift, all of whom have six nominations each.
Nominations proved to be somewhat scandalous this year as The Weeknd lashed out for being snubbed by the Recording Academy. “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency,” he tweeted in November.
The Weeknd also said he would be boycotting all future Grammys and his label will not submit music ever again.
Who is hosting the show?
“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, 37, will be the master of ceremonies for the night and should bring some much-needed laughs amid the pandemic. The comedian dropped a timely joke last week about how he’s excited to host and get his hair done for the show. “Has anybody seen the Gorilla Glue?” he said in a promo, referring to Tessica Brown.
But even the hosting gig didn’t come without scandal this year. Tiffany Haddish was reportedly offered a non-paid hosting gig for the pre-telecast Premiere Ceremony, in which she’d have to pay for her hair, makeup and wardrobe. However, she declined and Variety reported that “performers have traditionally performed gratis, including this year,” according to the Academy.
What are all the other scandals?
Besides The Weeknd — who told Billboard in January that the Grammys “mean nothing” to him — the Academy is weathering some additional outrage regarding nominations.
Drake, 34, publicly bashed the Grammys following The Weeknd’s snub, writing in an Instagram story: “I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after.”
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Justin Bieber, 27, also said he felt snubbed — despite earning an impressive four Grammy Award nominations for his fifth studio album, “Changes” — since he believes his album was wrongfully mistaken as a Pop album rather than an R&B anthology.
The Recording Academy also came under fire when it announced that Taylor Swift‘s re-recorded albums will be eligible for Grammys, prompting Twitter to call it “greedy.”
Zayn Malik also joined the chorus of criticism of the Grammys on Twitter. “F – – k the grammys and everyone associated. Unless you shake hands and send gifts, there’s no nomination considerations,” the 28-year-old tweeted last week. “Next year I’ll send you a basket of confectionary.”
He later added: “My tweet was not personal or about eligibility but was about the need for inclusion and the lack of transparency of the nomination process and the space that creates and allows favoritism, racism and [networking] politics to influence the voting process.”
Halsey, 26, also seemed to agree with Malik, sharing her own thoughts back in November while defending The Weeknd: “The Grammys are an elusive process. It can often be about behind-the-scenes private performances, knowing the right people, campaigning through the grapevine, with the right handshakes and ‘bribes’ that can be just ambiguous enough to pass as ‘not-bribes.’ And if you get that far, it’s about committing to exclusive TV performances and making sure you help the Academy make their millions in advertising on the night of the show. Perhaps sometimes it is (!!) but it’s not always about the music or quality or culture. Just wanted to get that off my chest. [The Weeknd] deserves better, and ‘Manic’ did too, perhaps it’s unbecoming of me to say so but I can’t care anymore.”
And, of course, we all know what Kanye West thinks of the Grammys.
Critics have also pointed fingers at the Recording Academy for a lack of diversity. This year, the show said it will highlight “diversity, equity and inclusion” in the official Grammy gift bag, but critics still call out the show for its “pattern of exclusion.” A study even found that the Grammys typically don’t give top honors to black artists, even when commercially successful.
However, Beyoncé — who has 79 career nominations, making her the most-nominated woman in the history of the Grammys — could make history Sunday as the artist with the most Grammy wins ever.
On top of all that, controversial figure Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, who worked on Doja Cat’s song “Say So” under the pseudonym Tyson Trax, has also caused outrage stemming from his much-publicized legal battle with Kesha.
Who is performing?
The Grammys performer lineup is stacked like a festival, but with headliners that would make anyone’s jaw drop.
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The long list includes Bad Bunny, Black Pumas, Cardi B, BTS, Brandi Carlile, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Mickey Guyton, Haim, Brittany Howard, Miranda Lambert, Lil Baby, Dua Lipa, Chris Martin, John Mayer, Megan Thee Stallion, Maren Morris, Post Malone, Roddy Ricch, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift.
Bruno Mars later got added to the long list after he campaigned on Twitter to perform with Anderson .Paak as Silk Sonic.
The Recording Academy did not reveal whether performances will be live or pre-taped, but did make note that the show “will pay tribute to the independent venues, which have been greatly impacted by the pandemic.”
Where is the show being held?
Sources told Variety in February that much of the 2021 show will be held outside at the Los Angeles Convention Center, with the usual venue, the Staples Center, in the background. However, Rolling Stone reported that the Grammys would be held at “an undisclosed building in Los Angeles.”
There are also special tributes planned to honor iconic music venues. “From bartenders to box-office managers, those who work day-to-day at the Troubadour (Los Angeles), the Hotel Café (Los Angeles), the Apollo Theater (New York City), and the Station Inn (Nashville) will present various categories throughout the night,” the academy said.